Thoughts on free to play games 8/25/13

By Chris Johnson

Plants vs. Zombies 2 was released for free on iOS last week. PopCap, the publisher of Plants vs. Zombies 2, hopes to make money by selling power-ups through in-app purchases. Despite enjoying the first Plants vs. Zombies, I’ve been hesitant to try the sequel. I just don’t trust free games, especially after reading Gamasutra’s article on how some game developers manipulate people into spending money on in-app purchases.

If I like a game, I’m happy to buy additional levels or expansion content1. In those cases the core gameplay isn’t compromised. It’s an honest transaction where you’re buying more of the same thing you already enjoy. However, with purchasable power-ups, you have to question whether or not a game is trying to frustrate you into paying your way past a challenge.

I much prefer buying a game knowing the developer tried their best to make it fun. From what I’ve heard, the in-app purchases in Plants vs. Zombies 2 are tastefully done, but I don’t want to constantly wonder whether a game experience would be more fun if I were spending more money.


  1. I’ve personally dropped a good chunk of change on more levels for Gears of War and expansion packs for Civilization.